Find e-books

What can I use eBooks for?

  • As alternatives to printed books with 24/7 remote access to content
  • As additional copies when all print copies are on loan
  • As sources of information with full-text searching
  • To find quotes and search footnotes
  • To “borrow” more books than your library account will allow

What’s available?

Until recently, very few Music titles were available electronically but the number is increasing all the time. Some e-books come in packages to which we subscribe and can be accessed via the publishers’ web pages as well as through SOLO. For e-books purchased individually, we have tended to concentrate on key texts on reading lists, which are likely to be in high demand, but other important titles are purchased as resources allow.

Access to e-books

Most electronic books are catalogued separately in SOLO and should appear clustered with or adjacent to records for their print counterparts. Click the ‘View Online’ link for direct access to the online version. Oxford University members can access e-books from anywhere but you will need to sign in with your Oxford Single Sign On (SSO). If you are already signed into SOLO, you should not need to re-authenticate. Non-University members can use e-books from within any of the Bodleian Libraries but remote access is not possible.

Scholarly monographs

ACLS Humanities eBooks:  This general humanities package includes several music titles. It contains both in-print and out-of-print books published between 1900 and ca. 2004. The books are fully searchable and link to book reviews published in JSTOR journals and H-Net. Sample titles:

  • Butt, John. Playing with history : the historical approach to musical performance. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Marston, Nicholas. Schumann, Fantasie, op. 17. (Cambridge music handbooks). Cambridge University Press, c1992.

EBSCOhost eBook Collection (formerly NetLibrary): Individually selected titles.

For most titles purchased from EBSCOhost, we have unlimited access but access is normally limited to two simultaneous users. Sample titles:

  • Baker, James M. Music theory in concept and practice. University of Rochester, 1997.
  • Clarke, Eric F. Ways of listening : an ecological approach to the perception of musical meaning. Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Cumming, Julie Emelyn. Motet in the age of Du Fay. Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Feld, Steven. Sound and sentiment : birds, weeping, poetics, and song in Kaluli expression.  2nd ed. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990.
  • Treitler, Leo. With voice and pen : coming to know medieval song and how it was made. Oxford University Press, 2003.

EBL (The E-Book Library)

EBL operates on a different model from EBSCOhost. Most titles come with an annual allocation of 325 ‘credits’. One credit is used up for every use of the e-book between 10 minutes and 24 hours in duration but access is not restricted to two simultaneous users. E-books may also be downloaded to computers for periods of up to 24 hours for one ‘credit’ and may also be used on most hand-held devices, including iPhones, Androids and various e-book readers (except Kindles). We can use EBL e-books we have purchased for periods of less than 10 minutes without using up any credits but EBL also allows free use of any e-books in their collections that we have not purchased for up to 5 minutes at a time, with the option of instantly recommending a title to Library staff for purchase via a simple online form. Once the purchase is approved, the e-book is available for use within 2 minutes. Visit the EBL website to see what's available.

Titles purchased so far include:

  • Rothenberg, David J. The flower of paradise. Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Taruskin, Richard. The danger of music and other anti-utopian essays. University of California Press, 2008.
  • Taruskin, Richard. Oxford history of western music [all volumes]. Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • DeNora, Tia. After Adorno : rethinking music sociology. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Cambridge Collections Online (CCO): The Music collection comprises the entire Cambridge Companions Series. Sample titles:

  • The Cambridge companion to Bach, ed. John Butt (1997)
  • The Cambridge companion to Monteverdi, ed. John Whenham and Richard Wistreich (2007)

Cambridge Histories Online (CHO): A digital collection of 250+ titles published as part of the Cambridge Histories series. Music titles published so far:

  • The Cambridge history of seventeenth-century music, ed. Tim Carter & John Butt (2005)
  • The Cambridge history of eighteenth-century music, ed. Simon P. Keefe (2009)
  • The Cambridge history of nineteenth-century music, ed. Jim Samson (2002)
  • The Cambridge history of twentieth-century music, ed. Nicholas Cook & Anthony Pople (2004)
  • The Cambridge history of western music theory, ed. Thomas Christensen (2002)
  • American music, ed. David Nicholls (1998)

Early printed books

Early English Books Online (EEBO): From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, this collection of early printed books contains over 96,000 images of titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640) and Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700) and their revised edition.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO): Capturing the essence of the Enlightenment in Great Britain between 1701 and 1800, this is a comprehensive digital edition of The Eighteenth Century. Nearly 150,000 English-language titles and editions published between 1701 and 1800, along with thousands of important works from the Americas, are made available online.

E-books free on the web

Digitised books in the public domain are freely available from a number of sources. Also, some publishers are beginning to make selected titles from their catalogues available electronically free-of-charge. Links to these free resources will not necessarily find their way into SOLO so it is worth exploring their websites periodically to see what’s available but beware that, owing to differences in copyright legislation, not all resources from the US or other countries can be legally used in the UK.

Google Books: Good for 19th century books; full-text not always available for more recent titles.

Internet Archive: Good content though again not comprehensive.

Project Gutenberg: over 36,000 free ebooks to download to your PC, Kindle, Android, iOS or other portable device.

University of California Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004: Selected titles from the UCP back catalogue, freely available. Free titles are marked ‘Public’. Sample titles:

  • Duggan, Mary Kay. Italian music incunabula : printers and type. University of California Press, 1992.
  • Frisch, Walter. The early works of Arnold Schoenberg, 1893-1908. University of California Press, 1997.
  • Kramer, Lawrence. Music as cultural practice, 1800-1900. University of California Press, 1990.
  • Rosand, Ellen. Opera in seventeenth-century Venice : the creation of a genre. University of California Press, 1990.


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